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Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 01/20/2011

UPDATED: McDonnell says he'll monitor gas tax declines over the next year

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

Virginia needs to look at how its declining gas tax revenue is affecting the state's ability to improve state roads, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said Thursday morning, suggesting that his mind is not entirely closed to talk of increasing the tax.

McDonnell was asked during his monthly appearance on WRVA's "Ask the Governor" program if he might ever support raising Virginia's gas tax, which has been level since 1986.

The governor noted that inflation has undercut gas tax revenues in the 25 years since the tax was last raised. Cars have also become more fuel-efficient, meaning drivers are purchasing less gas and paying less in taxes.

"It's just math," McDonnell said. "You're going to continue to have less revenue -- and more demand for roads and more people driving them.

"It's something we're going to look at over the next year."

But McDonnell went on to offer a strong defense for the no-tax transportation plan he's advanced this year. The plan would accelerate $1.8 billion in previously approved transportation bonds and issue $1.1 billion in new bonds supported by future federal outlays. It would also involve spending surplus dollars and diverting a portion of sales tax revenues raised in Northern Virginia and Hampton roads to transportation.

"This is the time to buy transportation services," McDonnell said.

Transportation advocacy groups have endorsed McDonnell's proposal but have said it's only a first step to funding the state's road, bridges and transit needs.

Democrats say raising the gas tax is the best way to get a new stream of revenue for roads. Some Republicans have in the past endorsed proposals to index the gas tax to inflation, which would cause automatic increases in the tax rate over time.

UPDATE 12:16 p.m.: McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin has checked in with some clarification, indicating that the governor's examination of the declining tax revenues will not include support for a gas tax increase before he leaves office in 2013. "The Governor was speaking broadly about the need to constantly evaluate all transportation funding sources and mechanisms. He will not raise the gas tax and will veto any legislation that attempts to do so," he said."

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | January 20, 2011; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, State Senate, Transportation  
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Comments

Instead, he'll just tax us in a backhanded way.


Toll = TAX

Toll Increase = TAX INCREASE!

Frank Wolf's (R) district was unfortunately overburdened with this tax increase and Wolf said nothing.

Way to go!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 20, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It's not low taxes that discourage maintenance of our highways, it's the high costs imposed by the Davis-Bacon Act. The Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 is a United States federal law which established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects. Davis-Bacon inflates the cost of federally funded construction projects by 20 - 25%. In fact, Davis-Bacon Act wages cost taxpayers over $1 billion annually, in addition to the $100 million in government administrative costs per year. Davis-Bacon also creates unnecessary regulatory paperwork costing construction companies $190 million annually. In addition, it forces state and local governments to pick up the cost of artificially high union-scale wages for construction projects in which any federal money is involved.

You don't need higher gas taxes for better roads. Just repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and see how quickly those road projects become feasible with the existing budget. derek crane

Posted by: derekcrane | January 23, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It's not low taxes that discourage maintenance of our highways, it's the high costs imposed by the Davis-Bacon Act. The Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 is a United States federal law which established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects. Davis-Bacon inflates the cost of federally funded construction projects by 20 - 25%. In fact, Davis-Bacon Act wages cost taxpayers over $1 billion annually, in addition to the $100 million in government administrative costs per year. Davis-Bacon also creates unnecessary regulatory paperwork costing construction companies $190 million annually. In addition, it forces state and local governments to pick up the cost of artificially high union-scale wages for construction projects in which any federal money is involved.

You don't need higher gas taxes for better roads. Just repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and see how quickly those road projects become feasible with the existing budget. derek crane

Posted by: derekcrane | January 23, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

It's not low taxes that discourage maintenance of our highways, it's the high costs imposed by the Davis-Bacon Act. The Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 is a United States federal law which established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects. Davis-Bacon inflates the cost of federally funded construction projects by 20 - 25%. In fact, Davis-Bacon Act wages cost taxpayers over $1 billion annually, in addition to the $100 million in government administrative costs per year. Davis-Bacon also creates unnecessary regulatory paperwork costing construction companies $190 million annually. In addition, it forces state and local governments to pick up the cost of artificially high union-scale wages for construction projects in which any federal money is involved.

You don't need higher gas taxes for better roads. Just repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and see how quickly those road projects become feasible with the existing budget. derek crane

Posted by: derekcrane | January 23, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

It's not low gas tax revenues that discourage maintenance of our highways, it's the high costs imposed by the Davis-Bacon Act. The Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 is a United States federal law which established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects. Davis-Bacon inflates the cost of federally funded construction projects by 20 - 25%. In fact, Davis-Bacon Act wages cost taxpayers over $1 billion annually, in addition to the $100 million in government administrative costs per year. Davis-Bacon also creates unnecessary regulatory paperwork costing construction companies $190 million annually. In addition, it forces state and local governments to pick up the cost of artificially high union-scale wages for construction projects in which any federal money is involved.

You don't need higher gas taxes for better roads. Just repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and see how quickly those road projects become feasible with the existing budget. derek crane

Posted by: derekcrane | January 23, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

don't blame me for the triple posting above, blame the seriously flawed posting software used by the washington post...it's time for a change, editors.

Posted by: derekcrane | January 23, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

It's not low taxes that discourage maintenance of our highways, it's the high costs imposed by the Davis-Bacon Act. The Davis–Bacon Act of 1931 is a United States federal law which established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects. Davis-Bacon inflates the cost of federally funded construction projects by 20 - 25%. In fact, Davis-Bacon Act wages cost taxpayers over $1 billion annually, in addition to the $100 million in government administrative costs per year. Davis-Bacon also creates unnecessary regulatory paperwork costing construction companies $190 million annually. In addition, it forces state and local governments to pick up the cost of artificially high union-scale wages for construction projects in which any federal money is involved.

You don't need higher gas taxes for better roads. Just repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and see how quickly those road projects become feasible with the existing budget. derek crane

Posted by: derekcrane | January 23, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

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